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There are two waysOF

THE CONCEPT of interpreting

a) To the non-muslims.
It means the freedom of choosing any religion or belief.
Religion depends upon faith, will, and commitment.
We cannot force people to have the same faith, will, and
commitment with us.
b) To muslims.
It refers more on the religious duty.
Man has a duty which he must fulfill to God. In this case,
man is not totally free.
Freedom is not a matter of choice to do good or to do evil,
to obey or disobey; it is a duty or amanah that is to be
Being in debt, man knows that he has to repay his debt.
Due to the feeling of gratefulness to God and the sense of
indebtedness, man has to fulfill his duty/ responsibility as
ibadullah and khalifatullah in the world.
Thus, according to al Attas, ikhtiyar (freedom of choice) is
not the availability of choices itself, but it is a matter of
what is the best a man can offer to God- as an expression of
gratefulness and indebtedness to Him.
Very common, man has two paths in front of him which he
has to choose- good or bad, right or wrong. Refer to 90: 8-
At the same time, Allah has given all the necessary means
and guidance to help him choose the better way to attain his
bright destiny. Refer to 32: 9, 67: 23, 23: 78.
Ikhtiyar is from the root word khayr which means good.
Thus, al Attas argued that ikhtiyar means
-choosing what is good.
- something which is chosen or preferred.
- the choice for the better/ good; so the object of choice
must be a good one.
The choice meant is toward what is good.
Al Attass idea is in line with al Maturidi.
Al Maturidi says, the condition for freedom of choice is
not that one should do whatever he wants, but he should
choose the most appropriate thing to do.
According to him, what is the most appropriate thing to do
is subject to both
-internal definition referred to the role of aql
-external definition supplied by the quranic revelations.
The concept of amanah:
The literal meaning of amanah is to put a certain thing in its
proper place.
The technical meaning of amanah is ones responsibility to
be fulfilled.
Amanah also means not to disclose other peoples secret to
Amanah should be applied in all aspects of mans life-
including in politics, economics and social life.
The concept of amanah and khilafah:
Allah has formally proclaimed the vicegerency of man on
this earth in 2:30.
Wisdoms why Allah has created human beings as khalifah on the
earth as compared to the angels:
i) Mans position is higher than angels
man has aql and desire- his aql controls his desire, and this makes
him perfect human beings in terms of obedience to Allah.
Whereas, the angels have not been challenged by any desire in
terms of their obedience to Allah.
ii) The wisdom, intelligence, and a special capacity of man
endowed by Allah to him.
Man has been given the facts of the world of beings as the Quran
mentions And He taught Adam all the names.
It means the teaching of the nature and the facts of the world of
creation and the secrets of the world of beings with its different
properties in different creatures.
The capacity and wonderful power of Adam was a great privilege
given by Allah to him above the angels.
Man as khalifah literally means man as a deputy or as a
vicegerent or as a mediator or as an instrument of Divine
intentions in the scheme of things.
Mans power and authority are bound to be limited.
He must fulfill certain tasks which had been assigned by
God to him.
Man as a khalifah simply means he as a representation of
Prophet Mohd (p.b.u.h).
So, like the Prophet, the task of the khalifah is mainly to
establish all the commandments of Allah in this world, to
establish the true principles of Islam as had been laid down
by Allah. Refer to 33:72.
Man has been endowed with the faculty of aql.
So, man has the unique potentialities of knowing,
questioning and contemplating.
Man also has been provided with a very comprehensive
divine guidance through Quranic revelations and prophetic
As discussed earlier, iman is a kind of contract or a pledge
between man and Allah.
If a man does not use his power and resources in the way
Allah has prescribed for him and instead uses them in
pursuit which has been prohibited, it clearly shows that
either he has not pledged his life and property to Allah, or
even after he pledged, he falsifies or denies it by his
conduct. This is al khianah- opposite to amanah.
The relationship between man and Allah is brought by iman
and Islam.
Allah has invested man with certain authority as khalifah
and has laid down upon him certain responsibilities and
obligations to be fulfilled.
So, man should live and work in this world to fulfill the
amanah given by Allah and to give the best account of
himself. He cannot run away or isolate himself from this
world as amanah.
In capacity as khalifatullah, man is answerable to Him for
all his activities. So, it is his duty to use the powers invested
to Him and all the means given to him in this world in
accordance with the Divine wills.
He should utilize the faculties and potentialities given to
him for seeking the pleasure of Allah.
The more perfect a man performs his function and amanah,
with a sense of responsibility and obedience and with the
objective of seeking the pleasure of Allah, the nearer he will
be to Allah.
In Islam, spiritual development is synonymous with
nearness to Allah.
We can see the difference between a religious-minded man
and a secular-minded man in terms of their activities.
For a religious-minded man, the whole of his life is a
thoroughly spiritual venture and the life for a secular man is
devoid of the sense of spirituality.
So, the concept of mans khilafah provides the operational
framework for the Islamic scheme of life.